Chris Connelly invites you onto a journey with his latest album called Graveyard Sex. Even though the title would suggest otherwise, the album is about death and life, and was inspired by his friend Bill who he was working with at the time he started writing for the album and ultimately passed before they could work on music together.
The album itself is a solemn affair filled with Connelly‘s crooning voice backed by passionate and sometimes emotional instrumentation. I can definitely hear a David Bowie influence as the album progressed. The prime example of this is in the song “The Heart Has To Ache Before It Learns To Beat”, which interesting enough is also the title of a book Chris Connelly released that features 40 years worth of lyrics and poems he has written.
Death is not an easy subject to talk about, let alone sing about, and Graveyard Sex will be a cathartic release for those dealing with the pain of loss. Amidst the feelings of loss and dealing with grief, he reminds us of the hope of life continuing on. You can hear that in songs such as “Infinitest Wish” and “Hyponotic Stand-By”. Chris Connelly is one of the few independent artists left that still believes in the power of song writing, and uses that as a means of expression. I think it is amazing this man is still out there creating beautiful quality music, and he is doing it because he cares. He is not concerned with money or making it big. He just wants to do what he does best and reach the audience of other passionate people such as himself.
“I started writing what would become GRAVEYARD SEX in the autumn of 2019. I had been talking to a very ill Bill Rieflin who had very recently lost his wife. We talked as we always talked, but he brought up the idea of my coming out to Seattle to work on some new music. I told him I would start getting some loose frameworks to perhaps work from, and we could start with a long weekend and see where we got and move on from there. At that time, there was a sadness in his voice and a fatigue from his illness, but the talk was very much of forward motion. Sadly, it never happened, he became more tired and more ill, it quickly became apparent that we would not be able to get together and play music again. I continued to work on the music, and gradually the album became loosely based on Bill’s plight, his fight. Not literally, but for the most part figuratively and impressionistically. The album is rich with musical references from things with which Bill and I shared a love, Including the cover, which is a gallows humour homage to ROXY MUSIC’S “COUNTRY LIFE” , an album Bill told me was his favourite in one of our very frequent conversations about Roxy Music. The inclusion of a version of NICO’S “YOU FORGET TO ANSWER” was also a nod toward Bill in that he introduced me to the song via a mixtape he made me just after we met in the late 80’s.The album’s title came from a joke I shared with Bill in my head, very often when I am writing, I use Bill as a sounding board or yardstick in my head to gauge the veracity or validity of what I am doing (“would Bill put a solo here?” ”would Bill think this was funny?”) “Graveyard Sex was me coming up with the most GOTH album title I could… I heard it being hissed through fangs in my head and I almost choked on my Whisky I laughed so hard. But after that, it became an image representing the meeting of DEATH and LIFE: GRAVEYARD and SEX, and at the same time, it became a noun, a gender, a checkbox on a form? SEX: GRAVEYARD. It is all within the walls of this album. One of the saddest parts of this record for me is the song ‘LINDSAY COOPER’, Lindsay was musician we both admired, the beautiful bassoon player in the band HENRY COW, who suffered from, and eventually died from multiple sclerosis, like the tragedy of JAQUELINE DU PRE, the cellist who died from the same affliction. Both fought to keep playing, as did my friend Bill, they wanted to keep playing, and eventually, their efforts were thwarted. This album is about facing death with life, inviting death into your life and trying hard to accommodate this unlikely guest.”
Graveyard Sex has released on all major platforms in November 11th via Armalyte Records, and you can purchase it as well as his other works through his official website. If you want to get a little preview of what the album is about, check out the video below for song “The Hypnotic Stand-By”.